By Andy Labdon
Nine residents from Wadena recently agreed to be testers for an energy pilot project initiated by SaskEnergy.
The Tune-Up Assistance Program (TAP) is designed to assist low-income households to save money on energy costs. If successful, the program will eventually be rolled out to communities across Saskatchewan.
“When SaskEnergy contacted the town, we immediately recognized a great opportunity for citizens and we are glad to facilitate the application process,” said Cheryl Harmsworth, the town’s acting chief administrative officer. “Wadena is a community ‘where big dreams grow’ and an excellent place to pilot and launch new programs.”
“We chose Wadena because we have very good relations with our network members here, CNS Mechanical and Water World,” said Shannon Dota, of SaskEnergy’s corporate affairs.
As part of the pilot, selected residents received a home heating tune-up at no charge, plus the installation of a carbon monoxide alarm as an added safety measure. TAP also highlights the importance of cleaning or replacing a furnace. The inspections included the operation of the thermostat, inspection of the heat exchanger, blower operation, and air filter, to name a few out of list of a possible 22 checks and adjustments.
“I thought it was a good idea and I am very happy with the result,” Debbie Bodnaryk, one of the nine selected customers told the News.
“I am very pleased with the offer and work,” said another selected homeowner, Marvin and Leslie Magraye, who moved to Wadena late 2015.
Linda Lawrence of SaskEnergy Customer Solutions said, “We want to raise awareness and promote the importance of furnace equipment and as part of a safety project, we will provide a natural gas and CO2 detector.”
“It is great to know that SaskEnergy network partners, CNS Mechanical and Water World, are active in bringing opportunities to our community, said Harmsworth. “I had a chance to meet the SaskEnergy representatives and the local network partners; their enthusiasm was inspiring. They see the potential of partnering with communities to empower citizens. I observed their keen interest in helping customers to reduce energy bills through best practices in energy efficiency, reducing environmental impacts and improving the overall safety of households. I heard from SaskEnergy that they experienced a very warm welcome from the program participants. A win-win all around,” said Harmsworth.
Over the years, SaskEnergy has rolled out several programs to reduce energy use. The Home Efficiency Program involved 2,600 households, while the Home Energy Legacy helped customers replace inefficient boilers. Now, the Tune-Up Assistance Program gives a full diagnostic inspection customers furnaces.